5 things to know for April 17: Notre Dame, schools threat, politics, Indonesia, China

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These remarkable photos and video show the scale of the damage inside the iconic 850-year-old Gothic cathedral in Paris, which was partially destroyed in a fire.

Posted: Apr 17, 2019 8:50 AM
Updated: Apr 17, 2019 8:50 AM

Remember that family that found a hidden livestreaming camera in their Airbnb? Here's how to sweep your next vacation rental for such nuisances. And here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. Notre Dame fire

We still don't know at this point exactly what caused the fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral, but a French prosecutor says there's nothing so far to suggest it was an intentional act, so it was "likely accidental." As the investigation into the blaze ramps up, so does the fundraising effort. French President Emmanuel Macron wants Notre Dame rebuilt in five years, and so far, more than $700 million in donations has been pledged. Despite the damage, people were thrilled to hear that the cathedral's iconic Rose windows survived, as well as the Great Organ, which has pipes dating back to the Middle Ages. So, just how will a Gothic masterpiece like Notre Dame be rebuilt? Possibly with the help of lasers. You can click here if you'd like to contribute to the restoration effort.

2. Denver school closings

Schools around Denver are closed today as police try to track down a woman who reportedly has an "infatuation" with the Columbine mass shooting. Sol Pais, 18, traveled Monday from Miami to Denver and immediately went to a store and bought a shotgun and ammunition, an FBI official said. It's believed she made "credible" but unspecific threats and is considered a danger to the community and schools. The 20th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting -- in which two students killed 12 classmates and a teacher -- is Saturday.

3. Politics

While Washington waits for the redacted Mueller report to drop, a few things happened to keep everybody occupied: President Trump vetoed a congressional resolution that sought to end US involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Proponents of the resolution, viewed as a rebuke of Trump's foreign policy, say the US shouldn't be involved in a war without explicit permission from Congress. It was also another way for those still angry about Trump's continued support of Saudi Arabia after journalist Jamal Khashoggi's killing to voice their displeasure. The President, in issuing his second veto so far, said the resolution was just an attempt to "weaken" his powers.

Meanwhile, Attorney General William Barr made a decision that has huge implications for the administration's immigration policies. Barr decided that some asylum-seekers who have established they have a credible fear of violence or persecution in their home countries can't be released on bond while their cases are sorted out. That could lead to immigrants being held indefinitely. Barr's ruling will likely affect thousands of migrants taken into custody at the border. Groups like the ACLU promise a court battle over this.

4. Indonesian elections

The world's biggest direct presidential election is underway in Indonesia. Some 192.8 million people are eligible to vote. For the first time, the country is voting for candidates for president and the legislature on the same day. So, across Indonesia's 17,000 islands, some 245,000 candidates are running for more than 20,000 seats. The country needs more than 800,000 polling stations and the help of 6 million election workers. At the top of the ballot is the battle between incumbent President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, who critics say has failed to deliver on improving human rights protections, and his longtime rival Prabowo Subianto, an ex-army general.

5. Chinese economy

The conventional wisdom going into this year was that China's once red-hot economy was cooling down, which would spell trouble for the whole world. Economists, you might need to slow your roll on that thinking. China's economy, the second-largest in the world behind the US, actually grew a little more than expected during the first quarter of the year. The fear had been that the trade war with the US and the Chinese government's effort to rein in debt in the country's financial system would be a huge economic drag -- for China and the world. But the government put out a stimulus package that seems to be propping up the economy.


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